Thursday, August 11, 2011
Dallas Cowboys kick off pre-season against Denver Broncos
Cowboys attempt to both regroup from lockout ending and regain winning sports legacy taken by other Dallas teams.
They’re not saying much about it, but it can be reasoned that it’s firmly on their minds. While some still doggedly refer to the Dallas Cowboys as “America’s Team,” the Cowboys are now scrambling for R-E-S-P-E-C-T, hoping that they can be just remembered as “Dallas’ Team.” Especially with what the North Texas sports community has seen transpire over the past nine months with their other major league sports franchises.
The Cowboys ended the 2010 regular season with a 14-13 win over the Philadelphia Eagles on January 2, finishing the year with a disappointing 6-10 record. That forgettable finish was engulfed by unprecedented developments, namely:
The Texas Rangers, led by manager Ron Washington, making it into the 2010 World Series in October; FC Dallas making it to the Major League Soccer Championship game in November; Super Bowl XLV being held at Cowboys Stadium on February 6, confirming that the Cowboys’ quest to be the first NFL team to play the Super Bowl on their home field was totally squashed; the Dallas Mavericks finally putting it together to emotionally win their first NBA World Championship in June.
For decades, sports fans in Dallas depended on the Cowboys to bring them a championship, complete with a trophy, rings, a downtown Dallas parade and bragging rights throughout the United States. They’ve fallen well short in the past 15 years. The Dallas Stars NHL hockey franchise has also gotten into the act since then, winning a Stanley Cup crown in 1999.
With all due respect to the other Dallas sports franchises, it’s little consolation for die-hard Cowboys fans; they’re looking for the Cowboys to “make it right again.”
Rejuvenating from lockout
With NFL players being just as much creatures of habit as anyone, the last weekend of training camp for the Dallas Cowboys, at the San Antonio Alamodome, is bringing the football routine to as close to normal proceedings as possible, with some subtle exceptions.
All NFL teams are shaking off both the physical and psychological cobwebs developed during the period of the NFL lockout, as the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NFL Players Association and the owners was being hammered out deep into the summer days.
Yet, when both sides finally signed on to a new agreement, ending the lockout on July 25, all teams had to go quickly from a dead stop to full speed ahead. Within the respective front offices, that led to an explosion of battles for high quality free agent players and a shakeup of marquee talent in the league.
The Cowboys were no exception, chasing after prized cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, only to see him go instead to the division rival Philadelphia Eagles. In addition, having to curtail their salary cap forced them waive several veteran players like running back Marion Barber, wide receiver Roy Williams, and offensive lineman Leonard Davis.
The Cowboys were able to keep their eyes on the prize and sign offensive lineman Tyron Smith, their first-round draft pick and veteran lineman Doug Free. They also were able to grab free-agent safety Abram Elam away from the Cleveland Browns.
The leading X-factors to determine if the Cowboys can make it back to the playoffs include: The starting wide receiving corps, now consisting of Miles Austin, Dez Bryant, and either Jesse Holley or Kevin Ogletree; more playing time for running backs Felix Jones and Tashard Choice; the quality of play from the defensive secondary, featuring Elam, Terence Newman (currently injured) Orlando Scandrick, Gerald Sensabaugh, and Mike Jenkins; and the question of if quarterback Tony Romo has the ingredients to take his team to the Super Bowl.
The Cowboys broke camp on Wednesday and start their road to double redemption with their first preseason game Thursday against the Denver Broncos, 7:30 p.m. at Cowboys Stadium.
Pegasus News Content partner - Dallas Weekly
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